Tuesday, July 31, 2012

We're Going With Curtain Number 3
The Intravitreal Injections

On August 15th, I will take Archie to the Animal Eye Care center to treat his glaucoma. We have chosen the intravitreal injection, "Option 3". The active ingredient, gentocin, will kill the fluid producing cells in his eye that have caused the pressure build-up in his injured eye. No more fluid production; no more pressure build-up.

I hope this doesn't hurt him. The vet will sedate Archie for the procedure. What I'm worried about is the post-surgical response to this treatment. I don't know if Archie's eye will hurt in the following days after the injection.

And there is no guarantee the injection will work: just 85%. But even if this doesn't work, we can always have the eye removed. I want to try to save Archie's eye before we take more drastic measures.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Archie's Vet Visit Last Week

Quick Synopsis

Archie has permanent vision loss in his left eye. And he has secondary glaucoma in that eye. Eventually the pressure will start hurting him. Archie may lose his eye.

Preparing for the Trip

The tricky part was separating the two dogs. I was able to put Dixie in the backyard with some juggling. If one went out, then both would. And if I got Archie back in, then Dixie would dart back into the house. I finally isolated Archie from Dixie but it took some work. After that, getting Archie in my car was easy. All I had to do was call his name, open the door and point to my car. He jumped into the back of the hatchback easily.

But before I could leave the house, my mom insisted that I bring some tooties (dog treats) to calm Archie in case he gets riled up during the trip, she said. I rolled my eyes. However, I wasn't able to leave without my mom shoving the tooties in my hand. I put them in my pocket and left.

For the first time, Dixie went around to the gate by the driveway and watched us get in the car. She cried and whined. She loves Archie so much. She pawed at the gate and nudged it with her nose in an attempt to get to us. My mom said when she let Dixie in a few minutes later, Dixie ran from one end of the house to the other, whining and looking for us.

The Drive Over

Archie slept sometimes, looked at me during others. But around 10 miles into the trip right as we hit Cary, Archie stood up and started barking at me. Distracted, I let off the gas and slowed down, enough to the point where a nursing home's mini-bus outdragged me on the Beltline.

Archie stopped barking only when he stood on the console between the driver's seat and passenger's seat. I thought he was going to get in the passenger side up front. I was half-right. He tried to get on my lap. He had his front paws on me when I noticed him dipping his nose towards my right pocket.

I had put the tooties in my right pocket. Archie went to the back after I told him to do so. I asked him if he wanted a tootie. He perked up (that meant "yes"). I pulled the tooties out and gave them to him one by one. Archie settled down after that.

The tooties were the very reason Archie got riled up in the first place.


After I took Archie in a short walk on the clinic's grounds, I took him inside. There were feeble old dogs there with arthritis, clouded eyes and gray faces. I always get a little sad when I enter that clinic.

I walked to the counter and gave them my dog's name and mine. They got a little snippy with me because I went to the wrong "line" despite no other customers being at the counter. I walked to the "VSH" part of the counter and not to the part of the counter for the Animal Eye Care Associates. I stepped 3ft over to the right line. Although I had brought animals in a couple of times before for eye problems, I don't remember having to go through that rigmarole at the desk.

The Animal Eye Care receptionist gave me a form to fill out, a clipboard and a pen. I went to a bench off to the left and started filling in the info. During this time, Archie stood up on his hind legs, let out a little cry and tried to hug me. He was scared.

Before I got half way through the form, a vet-tech called us back. Archie walked back with trepidation, his head lowered and steps slow and measured.

The exam room was small and crowded with equipment. There was a bench attached to the wall directly across the room from the door. Archie jumped on the bench and stayed there until the vet instructed the vet tech to bring him down.

The Examination

The vet entered the exam room soon after we did. I recognized him because he had treated Andy for his eye problems a few years ago. He was a nice guy and seemed to like his job.

He put on something around his head to take a close look at Archie's eye. Then he pulled out an instrument the size of an electronic thermometer. He measured Archie's eye pressure. I leaned over and saw the reading from the injured eye: 35. I asked the vet if dogs are supposed to have similar eye pressure as humans normally do (around 20). "Yes" the vet said.

I knew it was glaucoma before the vet said another word.

What the vet said next deflated me. He could probably see a sullen look on my face.

The Cause of the Injury

A grown dog had bitten Archie causing immediate and permanent vision loss. Archie will never be able to see out of that eye again. The trauma that poor boy went through. He seems so vulnerable. And I want to just hold and squeeze him.

I asked the vet if Archie had been dropped. "No," he said.

I asked if Archie's mom had bitten him. "No" again he said.

The vet said an adult dog had bitten into Archie's eye causing damage to the retina, cornea and other parts of the eye. Nerve damage resulted causing a permanent "sneer" on that side of the face. Also, the bite broke one of Archie's facial bones. What a horrible day that was for poor Archie.

Last, Archie has secondary glaucoma.


The vet said that the glaucoma does not hurt Archie right now. His eye is elastic because of his youth and can accommodate the increasing pressure.  However, in a few months, the pressure will cause his eye ball to swell to the point where his eye will not be able to swell anymore. That is when the glaucoma will irritate and hurt him. When that time comes, Archie will be sad, mopey and will not want to do anything.

The vet said Archie needed surgery to address the glaucoma.

Surgery Choices

1) Remove his eye.
This method would be a 100% way to get rid of the glaucoma. Archie's eyelid would be permanently shut. But this method would be least painful with the fewest chances of complications.

2) Prosthetic eye.
This method would need "moderate medical therapy." I don't know what that means so I need to call the vet to find out more about this. But at least Archie would look somewhat "normal." 

Archie would keep the "outside part" of his eye but the middle part would be removed and replaced with a silicone material. There is a chance of rejection.

3) Intravitreal injections
Using gentocin, eye injections would kill the fluid-producing cells to halt the build of of liquids causing the pressure build-up.

The chance of success is ~85%. I don't know how much this will hurt. I need to find out more about this, too.

Time of Reassurance

The vet could tell I was sad. Not only had I lost all hope of Archie regaining sight in that eye, but he may lose that eye completely. Archie lost sight in that eye when he was 4 weeks old. The vet said that Archie has adjusted to his eye-loss and considers have vision in only one eye to  be normal. Archie won't be "losing" anything that he already didn't have. He was going to be OK, the vet reassured me. 

I found it funny that he called Archie a "goofball" and "handsome." At home, we have used the words "goofy" and "handsome" to describe Archie. Archie is so sweet and loving. Even when he is being naughty, he still maintains an innocence about him. Dixie, by contrast, seems conniving and devious when she misbehaves.

 My mind wasn't so sharp after I left the examination room. I remember paying the bill before we left, but I do not know how much I paid. I forgot. Normally, I'm pretty good with numbers.

I need to call the vet tomorrow to find out more details about the surgical procedures described above.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Random Thought:
Why Does My Vet Have a Better Bedside Manner Than Any Doctor I've Been to in the Last 20 Years?

The left eye is the bad one.

That thought crossed my mind as I was driving home after taking Archie to the vet about his bad eye. Archie has lost all vision in his left eye from an injury he sustained when he was a puppy--the vision loss is permanent. He has glaucoma in his bad eye, a complication from that injury.

Archie may lose his left eye. The vet could tell I was sad. He tried to assure me that Archie would be OK and that Archie has already adjusted to his condition. As far as Archie is concerned, the vet said, having vision in just the right eye is normal. Archie doesn't know any better; it's the way things should be from what Archie could tell.

Here is how things would have played out if I were the patient:

Doctor: It looks like you have glaucoma .

Doctor: And your blood pressure is high. You need to do something about it.

Me: Well, usually it's lower.

Doctor: How do you know?

Me: I check it at home on an instrument I bought at the drug store.

Doctor: Well, it may be wrong. What kind is it? You may have dead batteries; you might have put the cuff on wrong; the model could be defective . . .

Me: I'm kind of upset over the glaucoma situation. I've been feeling bad. I know it can lead to blindness. The stress has been getting to me.

Doctor: (shrugs shoulders like "so what?") Well, you're going to have a stroke.

[By that time, I'm pretty damned upset and visibly so.]


I know that hypothetical conversation seems absurd to some people, but that is about the way a conversation I had with a doctor went in a visit when I was diagnosed with diverticulitis. For those not familiar with diverticulitis, it is an infection in the lower intestines. It hurts a whole fucking bunch. Sometimes, it requires surgery and can lead to death. It was a hell of a time for a doctor to read me the riot act about by blood pressure when I'm in agonizing pain from diverticulitis.

The vet visit today made me realize how fucked up it is that my dog's vet has a better bedside manner than any doctor I've been to in the last 20 years.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

As They Say, I'm Counting My Blessings
(Kids Drown in River Near Where I Once Swam)

Where Andy and I Swam: boulders towards the left.

Area Where Kids Drowned

A couple of kids drowned in the Neuse River just hundreds of yards where Abby, Andy and I had gone swimming years ago. Like those kids, we encountered problems in that river but unlike those kids, we escaped with our lives.

I don't know what the river looked like when those kids got in. I can bet that they were deceived by the river's calm tranquility as we were. On the surface, the river in our area has no turbulence and few ripples. The water flows smoothly and easily beside the greenway.

I found out how deceiving that river is. So did those kids. I remember the helplessness of when that river current swept me yards down-steam. But the moment lasted just a few seconds although I could easily describe it in several pages. I distinctly remember thinking "Go with the flow" and "Don't swim against the current." I knew that if I swam perpendicular to the current, I'd make it out.

I worried most about Andy. But he was a smart dog and took guidance well; but he was still a dog. Although he tried to swim back to me when he got caught in the current, he could not, meaning he was unable. Before he tired out and he was starting to tire and panic, I pointed him to the bank. I am so proud of him to this day that he knew what I meant and did what I asked. He swam to the river bank and got out.

After reading the story about those kids drowning near where I had once swam, I don't look back on that moment with Andy with fondness. We were damned lucky to have both made it out alive.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Who Protected Gus?
Who Was Gus's Silent Partner?

Breaking Bad season 5 starts tonight. Will we find out who was protecting Gus all this time? One incident of Gus being protected was when the cartel in the 80's killed Gus's brother, Max, instead of Gus himself. Gus did suffer by watching the murder and his brother slowly die. My guess is that Gus had someone in Chile looking out for him.

Another incident where Gus was saved by a "benevolent" protector was at the chicken farm. There, someone shot Mike's ear and killed a "red shirt". However, even though the sniper had a clear shot on Gus, the sniper did not take a shot at Gus. Was it the same protector at the chicken farm protecting Gus as it was in Mexico where Max was killed?

How will Gus's protector react when they found out a second-rate drug pusher killed Gus? Will the protector show him/her/itself? I don't think Gus's protector will take it kindly when they find out that a failed scientist and teacher killed their man.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Who In the Hell Puts a Nursing Home Right Beside a Funeral Home????

Nursing home (r) and funeral home in the middle
I made a startling discovery the other day when I was looking on Google Maps at a place near my old home in Greensboro. Near where a restaurant was located is now a funeral home and beside that a nursing home. What in the hell was going through these people's minds when these places were built beside one another? Maybe they thought they would save gas when they took the deceased occupants from the nursing home to the funeral home. Shit, if they were really on the ball, they could have put a cemetery out back.

I'm sure  others will not think that this "one-stop service" is tasteless as I do. I can be a tad sensitive at times.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

I Can Understand Why Muslims Think Dogs Are "Unclean"

The "clump" is circled above.

Dogs really can be nasty little rascals. Take, for example, my dogs' fascination with the cat litter box and any of its contents.

Late one evening, recently, I noticed Archie had snuck off to the back of the house. Normally, Archie and Dixie will hang out with me in the den during the evenings. They'll sit on the couch or a chair and sleep, eat or play.

But this night, Archie absconded to the back. Even Dixie was curious where he was at by the way she craned her neck up and stared down the hall. Within minutes, Archie rounded the corner and headed back towards us. Dixie hopped up and greeted him.

Dixie was especially interested in what Archie had in his mouth. I, too, became interested since I couldn't immediately tell just by looking at it. Whatever it was, Archie didn't want to give it up. Dixie went straight to his mouth, sniffed it and tried to get the foreign object out. Archie turned his head away.

Something didn't look right. I told Archie to come to me, forcefully, I might add. He slowly walked to me. Then I told him to "give me that." He did. He dropped it right into the palm of my hand. I saw that it was a urine-soaked clump of cat litter.

Why in the hell would that dog eat cat litter, especially soiled cat litter?

But I understood something at that moment: who was cleaning out the litter box. Before that incident, I remember asking my mom if she was cleaning out the litter box. "No" she said. "I haven't either" I thought. Odd. Was Dodo using the litter box?

If Dodo wasn't using the litter box, then he had to "hold it" overnight: possible but not probable. Once I saw Archie with the urine-soaked clump of litter in his mouth, I understood why my mom or I didn't have to clean out the litter box. Archie assumed the litter box cleaning chore for himself.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Routine Check-Up at the Vet

In exam room. Archie(l), Dixie(r)
The Trip to the Vet

Not much happened, thankfully. However, I did have to pick up Dixie and put her in the car. Archie hopped up on his own into the car. They sat or stood in the hatchback part which was folded down to make ample room for them.


It took all my strength to keep them from getting away from me after they got out of the car. Actually, I lost hold of Dixie's leash. So, I had to grab her tail and pull her back before she darted off to the far-yonder. As heavy handed as it sounds, I had to do it because she sure as hell wasn't listening to my verbal command. That girl can be so damned stubborn. I wasn't going to have her running all over Knightdale.

In the Lobby

Dixie wanted to play with every living creature in that lobby. All Archie wanted to do was play with Dixie or lay down but he mostly just kicked it. On the other hand, Dixie was barking at the people behind the counter. What she wanted from them, I'll never know.

To the Back

The vet-tech called out Archie and Dixie's names. Dixie responded by jumping on the woman and licking her. Even Archie may have jumped on her. Before going to the exam room, the vet-tech weighed the babies. Archie tucked his tail and begrudgingly got on the scales. I have no idea why he is scared of the scales. Dixie got weighed with no problems, that is if you don't consider 60lbs a problem for such a small boned dog. She has gotten a  little chubby in the last month and a half, gaining over 13lbs. Archie weighed in at 68. I thought for sure he'd be in the mid 70's. He has such big paws.

In the Exam Room

They had a wellness exam and some routine shots. I told the vet about their problems. Both of them are scratching a whole lot. The scratching has taken a toll on their skin with them having a few raw spots. The vet couldn't say why they were itching so much, although Archie had a few fleas but Dixie did not. The vet prescribed some prednisone to alleviate the itching. Now these dogs are going to drink like a fish and piss like a racehorse.

While the vet was giving me advice on how to take care of the flea situation, the babies put on a show. The rolled on the floor, wrestled with each other, bared their teethies , barked and cried.

One of the things the vet said to do was vacuum everyday. "This is great", I thought, "telling my OCD mother to vacuum would be like telling Dean Martin to drink."


The bill was a whopper, over $400. While we were waiting for the bill at the lobby desk, a couple of dogs went to the back. Dixie went nuts trying to greet those dogs. She's a very social girl.

Before I let the dogs in the car, I opened the hatchback. Unlike on the trip over, Dixie got in the car all by her babygirl self. Dixie and Archie jumped in the car at the same time, almost as if they were mirror images of  each other. If there were such an event as "Synchronized Dog Jumping" they would have gotten a "10".